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Benefits of Early Bilingualism

Infants have the innate ability to learn multiple languages.  According to research by expert Linda Espinosa, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri at Columbia, the early years are an ideal time to acquire multiple languages. (Espinosa, 2015) Her research demonstrates when young children are exposed to a secondary language at an early age - no matter how short the experience and no matter the pairs of languages involved - there are observable neural changes in the way in which language is organized in the child’s brain.  Children as young as seven months, demonstrate highe...

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Gardening with Children

“Gardens offer children perfect laboratories where scientific concepts literally come to life.”  -Pam Mohrmann, author and educator My three-year-old can tell you the parts of a plant, a plant’s life cycle, and which parts of the plant are good to eat. He can identify several insects that help our plants along with several of the harmful ones.  He enjoys pulling weeds, inspecting fruit and vegetables, and eating them fresh from our garden.  This knowledge is the result of numerous experiences “playing” in the garden. Shortly after his second birthday, I gave him his fi...

Advanced Pre-K
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Block Play for Essential Early Development

It is a widely-held belief that block play is an essential part of early childhood development, but why? What do these seemingly simple toys help cultivate and why is it so vital to development? Here are some reasons you should consider forgoing those new expensive toys for this simple and superior option:   Problem Solving – Intentional “I want to build a house.” And unintentional – “if I want to make it high on this side how can I do it?” The child has to figure out how they will accomplish these tasks and answer these questions. Self-Expression – Blocks offe...

Pre-Kindergarten
Preschool
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Journaling with Children

Most of us think of writing in a journal as a “diary” kept locked away or something we wrote in when we were teenagers. However, journaling is an essential literacy experience. Journal is defined as… Journal 1 a: an account of day-to-day events b: a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use. Given this definition, a journal can be a rich resource for all. For young children, journaling can be an opportunity to write the experiences and reflections of their lives. How can a preschool child journal if they cannot write? Literacy activi...

Advanced Pre-K
Pre-Kindergarten
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Austin Family Magazine 2017 Readers' Poll is Open!

The polls are open for Austin Family magazine’s 2017 Readers’ Poll Favorites! Help make us the “BEST in CHILD CARE” for our 19th year! Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to vote, too! Thank you for your support and votes as we continue to provide the very BEST early care and education possible! Click here to go vote now!...

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Three Stars and a Wish

The world we live in is hyper connected and technology driven, but in this fast-paced society we may have forgotten how to be present and connect with those around us. There are many times I catch myself checking e-mail or mindlessly scrolling through the Internet when my two beautiful children are playing happily in front of me. I am missing the most important moments with my children, and I begin to think, “Do I even know my children as well as I think I do?”   Taking time to connect and re-connect with those we care about and love is fundamental to our happiness, but how c...

Advanced Pre-K
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What is Respect?

What is respect? According to four-year-old Julia, respect is “being nice to other people.” Pressing further, I asked “What does being nice mean?” She delightfully answered, “it means you give someone chocolate or a kiss!” As young as she is, this child recognizes that respect is the way you choose to treat another person.  “Being nice” as she puts it, is how one acts when demonstrating respect. How does one teach respect to young children? Demonstrate respectful behavior. Children often watch their caregivers looking for clues defining the expectations. If they ...

Infant
Preschool
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What to Do on a Rainy Day in Austin?

Although this time of year can bring a wide variety of weather, we can keep our children active and challenge them physically and mentally year round! “Rainy day” activities can be especially helpful to keep handy for any time outdoor play isn’t an option. Physical activity is a vital aspect of development and for leading a healthy life. Benefits of Physical Activity include: Muscle Development Strong bones, muscles, and heart Building stability Locomotor Skills Developing Self Esteem Small and gross motor skills Cardiovascular endurance It is very import...

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The Art of Kindness

In this busy world we live in, it is becoming more and more vital to remember to take a moment to be kind to ourselves and to others. Kindness is more than just an idea or a thing that we can do, it is a way of living. When we think of things we want our children to grow up to be, kind is definitely on that list. An act of kindness is something that can bring joy and harmony not only to the receiver but to the giver as well. The Random Act of Kindness  movement is sweeping the nation.  Sites like https://www.randomactsofkindness.org are wonderful resources for people and communities to ge...

Advanced Pre-K
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ChildCare Exchange Magazine Cover Story feature in Jan-Feb 2017 Issue

Rhonda Paver intended to work as a teacher when she and her family moved to Austin, Texas, in 1979. Right off, she needed to find child care for her three children. Unsatisfied with the many large and small operations she looked into, Rhonda visited one final small house. The child care provider, looking exhausted, said she simply couldn’t go on in her business. Right then and there, drawing on her Alaskan family history of pioneering entrepreneurship, Rhonda decided she was going to build what she could not find. She and her family moved into that very building. The family lived on one s...

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The Marshmallow Test

Almost 50 years ago, Dr. Walter Mischel, psychologist and, at the time, a professor at Stanford University, conducted a series of studies on delayed gratification often referred to as The Marshmallow Experiment. During the study, Mischel’s team tested over 600 children looking for signs of delayed gratification and self-control. A child was offered a choice between one treat (a cookie, marshmallow, or pretzel) to eat immediately or two treats to eat later if they waited for a period of time (approximately 15 minutes). While the child waited, the tester would leave the room and then return...

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Nurturing compassion in the lives of children

December Character Development: Compassion I recently observed a precious exchange between sisters, four-year-old Katie and younger sister Ellie. Katie had already made several attempts to cross a low balance beam independently and so when she failed yet again, she crumbled to the floor and began to cry out of frustration.  Eager to comfort, Ellie toddled over to where her big sister sat crying.  Little Ellie practically folded her body in half to look her sister in the eyes, reached out her chubby little hand and patted Katie on the back, then leaning over a little more, gave her big s...

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Teaching gratitude and giving to young children

Generosity and gratitude are fundamental cornerstones of character development behind Stepping Stone School’s comprehensive Platinum Learning for Life™ curriculum. As our faculty model, our efforts begin in the classroom, practicing and teaching the value of sharing and caring for others. We promote these attitudes through charitable giving events throughout the year and teach monthly character building with focused learning activities. Research demonstrates that children develop an attitude of charity and compassion when they experience opportunities for giving throughout their d...

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Embracing Nature!

In the spirit of fall, I took my children to a nearby farm for some outdoor fun.  Squatting in a small field, I attempted to capture some cute pumpkin patch photos while the children sat on the itchy hay squinting in the sunlight: “It too bright, Mommy!” my three-year old says. My older daughter whines, “I’m hot!” And then the baby falls back, hits her head on a pumpkin and begins to wail. Outdoor time over… All too often outdoor time is grouped in the “Maybe later…” category of our lives or we shorten it to fifteen minute chunks of time and call it reces...

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November Character Development: Citizenship

How to practice good citizenship On the cusp of another presidential election, it may be that words like civic duty and voting are what come to mind when you hear the word “citizenship.” However, citizenship is much more than that – we don’t have to wait until our children are old enough to vote before we talk about making a difference in our community. We can begin teaching them how to be good citizens even now by: 1. Starting at Home. Set an example by respecting others and their property. Encourage them to clean up after themselves, follow the rules at home and at school, an...

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Stepping Stone School Sponsoring Kid's K Race

Join us at the Stepping Stone School Kids’ K at the 26th Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning at The Long Center. The Kids’ K starts at 8:15am (before the 5-mile run). We group the children according to age and send them off in waves so that the smaller children won’t get run over by the older ones. Every Kids’ K participant receives a finisher’s bracelet! Stop by our Activity Center for projects and games before or after the run. All proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin, a non-profit organization committed to assisting low-income families. We hope to s...

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October Character Development: Integrity

All the World's a Stage I sometimes feel as if life is a performance. I put on my makeup and dress according to the role I will play that day, exchange formal lines like “Good morning, how are you?” and move from scene to scene through the business of life. Though many only see the performance on the stage, my children are in a unique position to watch my life play out both as a member of the audience and a part of the backstage crew: they see it all. The thought is both terrifying and compelling: They are learning from me at every moment of every day – understudies, of sort, t...

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September Character Development: Cooperation

Two opposing teams stand on the cusp of a pit of mud.  A single rope with a flag tied to its center snakes through the ranks as the teams face off.  Tensions mount as each individual anxiously awaits the dreaded whistle blow which will announce the start to a summer camp favorite: the Tug of War!  The goal: Work as a team, pulling as hard as you can so you all don’t end up in the pit of mud. That “work as a team” part is key.  Unfortunately, many of us land in the proverbial “mud” before we realize that working together, cooperating, is key to many of life’s successes. Tra...

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Stepping Stone School raises $10,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas

From selling refreshing lemonade, warm cookies and creative crafts, the students of Stepping Stone School in Austin, TX put their business minds and giving hearts to work at the schools’ Young Entrepreneurs & Philanthropists™ summer camp program – all to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas (RMHC CTX). The students raised over $6,000 through the sale of their goods, effectively doubling the amount raised last year including additional monetary contributions and in-kind resources provided by Stepping Stone School. Together, they donated $10,000 this year to supp...

Advanced Pre-K
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The Benefits of Handwriting for Young Children

This past school year my kindergartener spent several hours a week learning keyboarding and document processing right alongside reading and writing.  As an up and coming first grader, he has been begging for access to my computer all summer long.  Beyond the games he can play, he has stated his joy at being able to write quickly while using the keyboard.  It is the same reason many adults enjoy using a computer versus writing with pen and paper: in the words of my six year old, writing by hand “Takes FOREVER!” But, the formation of letters through the sequence of hand strokes prov...

Advanced Pre-K
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Why young children are thoughtful and curious beings.

“Don’t put that in your mouth!” “How did you get there?” “Yuck, don’t touch that!” Sound familiar?  Phrases like these are often heard erupting from the mouths of the parents of young children. So close to the ground, infants and toddlers often find the one lost cheerio that rolled behind the couch or wriggle their way into the kitchen cabinet with no plan of how to get back out.  Their eyes ever scanning their surroundings, touching everything, tasting anything, listening to the background noises we adults have learned to tune out - using each of their senses ...

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Why is it Fair…?

“Why is it fair that I have so much when other kids don’t?” kindergartener, Rachel Harris, pointedly asked. With her mother’s support and guidance, Rachel founded Let’s Help Kids, a nonprofit company which works alongside teachers and case workers to provide toys and experiences for the children of families who would otherwise not be able to afford life’s little luxuries. Over six years later, Rachel has helped over 2,000 children by providing presents for birthdays and holidays, Halloween costumes, summer camp tuition, swim lessons, and even movie tickets. It all began w...

Infant
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Welcome, Dr. Chris Lemons to our Advisory Board

Dear Valued Stepping Stone School Families, Twenty years ago, I hired a bright young man as a school age teacher at our Northcross campus. At the time, he was a Psychology undergraduate student at the University of Texas. His love for our students was evident from the start, even when I had to remind him to curb his enthusiasm when pushing the children on the swings. This young man was Chris Lemons and he is now the newest addition to the Stepping Stone School Advisory Board. Chris is currently the leading researcher in the nation on Down Syndrome and an Assistant Professor in the Depar...

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Responsibility. What’s that? 5 Actionable Tips to Teach Your Child How to be Responsible.

I recently spoke to an aquatics director at a large facility. The majority of her faculty is made up of young adults ages 18-24. Each year this director is surprised by the number of new applicants whose parents call to try to get them a job working in her facility. She refuses to hire those applicants. Why? Because if those individuals have not shown that they are responsible enough to find their own job, then she does not want to give them the responsibility to guard someone’s life while they are in the water. Responsibility is necessary for future success. How do parents teach th...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Kindergarten
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Stepping Stone Announces: “The Atelier”

Stepping Stone School’s latest innovation brings students an all-new learning environment in the fields of Art & Design, debuting at our Lakeline location. The Atelier at Stepping Stone School Lakeline is a unique and innovative concept designed specifically by Stepping Stone School to expand educational opportunities in the fields of art and design. Created for ages four and up, The Atelier is raising the bar for Early Care and Education experiences. It focuses on the creative genius intrinsic to all children and provides them with character and creative role models allowing them to...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Kindergarten
Pre-Kindergarten
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School Readiness

Will my child be on the same academic level as his classmates? Will he be able to make new friends? Will he know how to let his teacher know what he needs? Parents with perspective kindergarteners have many concerns as their child embarks on his first year of formal schooling. In the stress and rigor of modern education, parents often wonder if their child is prepared for kindergarten.   What determines School Readiness for an up and coming student? An earlier generation defined school readiness as whether or not a child is five years old. In recent years, however, stat...

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Effective vs. Ineffective Praise

“Ineffective Praise?” How can praise be ineffective? Aren’t parents supposed to praise a child’s efforts? Yes and no… America, as a culture, thrives on praise. The idea of not praising a child seems outrageous to many parents. However, in recent years research has demonstrated that there is a difference between effective praise and ineffective praise (wrong praise). Ineffective Praise Praising Traits In one study, two groups of four-year olds were given puzzles to complete independently. One group was encouraged with the phrase, “You’re so smart!” The other group ...

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School to Home Connection Folders

Stepping Stone School is excited to announce a wonderful addition to our Platinum Learning for Life Curriculum™ for our Advanced Pre-Kindergarten classes: School to Home Connection Folders! The addition of these at-home learning and communication tools is supported by research which states, “Meaningful family engagement in children’s early learning supports school readiness and later academic success. Parental involvement is a critical element of high-quality early care and education” (Snow, 2012). School to Home Connection folders provide an educational link between learning whi...

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What is Resilience?

It can be seen in the significant moments in our lives: how we respond to our greatest challenges, our ability “to overcome the odds,” to learn a new skill, and to perform under pressure. Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. People who are resilient understand that one can learn more through challenging circumstances than sidestepping demanding situations. They retain an attitude which enables them to keep pressing forward through life’s obstacles. Resilient people recognize their own strengths and abilities. They demonstrate responsibility an...

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The Effective Use of Computers with Young Children

Stepping Stone School recently made a major investment in new computer hardware and learning software which has been installed in every three year old through school age classroom at each campus. The use of computers with young children has been intensely studied since the early 1980s. Research has taught us that technology can change the way children think, what they learn, and how they interact with their peers and adults. It can also be used to teach the same old stuff in a thinly disguised version of the same old way. That is why Stepping Stone School has been a pioneer in the placement...

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Play Time is Essential

Today’s early childhood education research continues to bring evidence to light that play time is essential for social-emotional and academic development in young children. In The Importance of Being Little, child development expert Erika Christakis emphasizes that freedom to participate in unstructured play is crucial for children to inspire key learning connections. She says, "We have very crammed [preschool] schedules with rapid transitions. We have tons of clutter on classroom walls. We have kids moving quickly from one activity to another. We ask them to sit in long and often boring ...

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Nine Things Parents of Successful Children Have in Common

"While there isn't a set recipe for raising successful children, psychological research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success," states Rachel Gillett in her article from Independent, "Nine Things Parents of Successful Children Have in Common." According to a series of studies from psychologists at Duke University, UCLA, and other esteemed university research departments, these factors predict success: 1. They teach their children social skills. 2. They have high expectations. 3. The mothers work. 4. They have a higher socioeconomic status. 5. They've attained hig...

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$100 Summer Camp Referral Credit!

Summer is just around the corner, and Stepping Stone School’s Summer Camp is filling up fast! Stepping Stone School is extending a special offer of a $100 tuition credit for families who have a school age child currently enrolled in our school age summer camp for a minimum of 5 weeks, who refer another school age child not currently enrolled in our school age program and who enrolls in summer camp for a minimum of 5 weeks. As a bonus, the newly enrolled family will also get a $100 tuition credit. This offer is good through May 31, 2016 - for more information, please call (512) 459-0258 ...

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Stepping Stone School Named 25th Largest Childcare Organization in the Nation

In a recent national survey, Stepping Stone School was named 25th largest early care and education organization in the nation, based on size and capacity. This is a remarkable and impressive designation for a center that began in 1979 with 5 enrolled children!  Stepping Stone School has achieved national recognition for program quality and leads the region with accolades for curriculum, programming and community service. Rhonda Paver, M.A. Executive Director was quoted and noted as a partner with the Seton Health Network on behalf of child care services for the employees of the Seton sys...

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Stepping Stone School Featured on Texas Homes For Sale!

" One of the most fraught decisions that a parent has to make is the decision of where and when to place your child in child care. Will this place keep my child safe? Will this place support my child's learning, emotional, social, and intellectual growth? Can we afford it? These are just the first questions that anxious parents ask before they send their young children off to a school. The Stepping Stone Schools in Austin, Texas, have found ways to provide children with caring, developmentally attuned programs based on the latest research in early childhood education. " We are thrilled th...

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Stepping Stone School Rolls Out Its Newest Curriculum, Platinum Learning for Life™

Over the last three decades, Stepping Stone School has developed its own proprietary and comprehensive early education curriculum. The curriculum is based on 35 plus years of direct teaching experience and interacting with children, but also on the finest and most up to date research and best practices regarding how children learn, grow and develop. It also takes into consideration the needs of every type of learner and fosters friendships and relationship-building in children at an early age. Stepping Stone School is consistently upgrading and changing our curriculum to ensure we are al...

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SPRING Into SUMMER!

The Spring Break in mid-March is not far off and before you know it, the school year will be ending! Now is the time to plan ahead and reserve a place for your school age child's care and education during the Spring and Summer breaks! Our exciting Spring Break theme will be In the Museum where we will be studying the vast variety of museums throughout the world and the treasures that lie within them! This summer, our campers will explore the continents of the world along with the countries that populate each continent in The World Awaits! Our campers and their friends will develop a mean...

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Winter Special: Waived Enrollment Fees!

Looking to enroll your child in a premier early education program this winter? We invite you to take a tour of any of our campuses to explore our Platinum Learning for Life curriculum and learn more about our innovative Early Achievers Program, which features S.T.E.A.M. and literacy. For the months of December and January, we will be waiving our enrollment fee for all families new to Stepping Stone School – start by January 31, 2016, and we'll credit the enrollment fee to your first month's tuition* ($100 value). As you visit, see how our campuses are designed to facilitate chil...

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Winter Break Camp 2015

Winter Break will be here before you know it, and Stepping Stone School is gearing up to launch our winter program to keep our students’ minds engaged while school is closed for the holidays. At The Brainery, we will be immersing ourselves in the bygone times of “The Middle Ages.” We will investigate the era of knights and castles through science experiments, critical thinking exercises, engineering activities and a number of other S.T.E.A.M. related exercises. Students will have the chance to design and test a catapult, create a coat of arms, and write and perform a ballad of th...

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Severe Weather Monitoring and Safety 10/30

Stepping Stone School follows the highest order of safety practices for severe weather. We are monitoring all weather conditions and applying safety precautions continuously. Faculty members are thoroughly trained for all severe weather safety procedures to keep your child protected and secure....

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The Emergent Writing Philosophy of Stepping Stone School

At Stepping Stone School we are laying the foundation for success in literacy by providing children with early writing opportunities. Children begin demonstrating pre-writing skills as toddlers and these abilities continue to develop through the prekindergarten years. The Progression of Writing The first stage of writing development emerges between 15 and 30 months of age when children begin scribbling. Between 2 . and 3 . years, children incorporate circles and repeating lines into their artwork. These letter-like symbols may appear in a line or randomly on the page. At this age, most c...

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Reading Readiness at Stepping Stone School

Research demonstrates that the single activity that has the greatest impact on reading readiness is being read to on a regular basis. Each day, the children at Stepping Stone School listen to read-alouds, observe environmental print, delve into the classroom library, interact with our classic children’s literature collection, and explore other books and printed material. These activities benefit children of all ages and support numerous pre-reading skills. Daily Reading As Stepping Stone teachers read to the children in their classrooms, they employ a number of strategies and activities...

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Bob Books For Reading Readiness and Early Literacy!

In keeping with our pledge to prepare children for kindergarten, Stepping Stone School has recently adopted a Learn-to-Read Curriculum for our Advanced Pre-Kindergarten Classes. The Bob Books were chosen based on their reputation for supporting reading readiness in young children and their adaptability for use in whole group and small group settings. Through daily practice, children will build pre-reading and reading skills that are foundational to a lifetime of reading. Our wonderful teachers have undergone training on the use of these books and have learned various reading strategies to...

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Bus and Van Safety is our Top Priority!

When leaving their child in the care of someone else, most parents say the safety of their child is their number one concern. At Stepping Stone School, we could not agree more, especially when it comes to safety in and around the vans and buses. Since 1979, Stepping Stone School has always been at the forefront of safety protocols, often implementing procedures many years before they become law. Here are some of our tried-and-true policies, many of which have become state regulations: Our vehicles have an alarm that goes off anytime children are unloading to alert anyone in the area ...

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Stepping Stone Students Donate $6500 to Ronald McDonald House Charities

From selling refreshing lemonade, warm cookies and creative crafts, the students of Stepping Stone Schools in Austin, TX put their business minds and giving hearts to work at the schools’ Young Entrepreneurs & Philanthropists summer camp program – all to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas. The students raised over $3,000 through the sale of their goods and Stepping Stone School matched and exceeded all funds. Together, they donated $6,500 to support the families with hospitalized children that rely on Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas. Steppin...

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A Fresh Look at Our Latest Campus - Southpark Meadows

Here is a virtual tour of our newest campus at Southpark Meadows, which opened in March 2015! This campus has a nature conservation theme woven into every facet of the school, from the heritage oak tree giving shade to the playscape to the hands-on learning gardens that house flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The Southpark Meadows campus features state-of-the-art technology and classrooms designed using top research on learning environments, creating a setting that engages hearts, bodies, and minds of our students. Read more about the philosophy of our campus design >>   ...

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Summer Camp Enrollments Filling up Quickly

It’s not too late to give your child the gift of “Summer’s Smartest Destination,” a whole-child adventure that will nourish his or her mind, body and heart! This summer, we are exploring the far reaches of the Earth as we investigate the environments of the world we live on. Our Summer Camp offers the unique benefit of preventing summer brain drain with six specialty camps, all in one place. Each of our biweekly subjects is presented to your child through our specialized literacy, character-building and S.T.E.A.M. curriculum, which uses science, technology, engineering, arts ...

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Stepping Stone School at Northcross Accreditation Renewed

Stepping Stone School is pleased to announce that its Northcross campus has again been awarded accreditation by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs! NAC Accreditation signifies that Stepping Stone School at Northcross was found by the commission to adhere to the highest standards for early care and education, including things like environments, staff development, teaching interactions and parent communications. The Association for Early Learning Leaders is the body that defines, evaluates and oversees this accreditation. All Stepping Stone ...

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2015 Spring Break Camp

There's still time to sign up for Stepping Stone School's 2015 Spring Break Camp featuring the Hidden World of Spies! This spring break, we will use S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) principles and activities to delve into the world of spies and secret agents. Stepping Stone School offers a safe, fun place for children to learn and explore during their break from school. Each of our classrooms is an exciting environment in which children can strengthen their knowledge through chess and math & literacy time, as well as meet and socialize with frie...

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Southpark Meadows Campus to Open March 2

Stepping Stone School Bringing High-Quality Preschool, Childcare to Austin’s Southpark Meadows Award-Winning Child Development Center Opening 19th Campus AUSTIN, Texas, February 11, 2015 – In an area renowned for its commitment to education, the families of South Austin are about to have a real choice in high quality, educational child care. Stepping Stone School is set to open its new state-of-the-art campus in Austin’s Southpark Meadows located at 9325 Alice Mae Lane on March 2. “Southpark Meadows is the perfect location for us to serve the preschool and childcare needs of o...

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Be the First to See Our Newest Campus

We are currently accepting enrollment applications for our newest state-of-the-art campus being constructed in Austin's Southpark Meadows. Get an early look at our new school, which will feature a nature conservation theme. Like all of our original campuses, this location will include design elements throughout that spark curiosity and encourage interactive play – such as hallways that hold a 3-D fossil timeline or a network of giant, working mechanical cogs along the walls. Join us for a Construction Tour on one of these dates: Nov. 15, 2014 – from 10:00 a.m-1:00 p.m. De...

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Hatch Technology Wins Fourth National Educational Technology Award

TeachSmart® 3.0 by Hatch has been recognized as the Best Software for Early Learning by the ComputED Gazette in the 19th Annual Education Software Review Awards [caption id="attachment_3830" align="alignright" width="150"] Stepping Stone School is proud to use Hatch interactive technology.[/caption] WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Oct 07, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- For the fourth consecutive year, Hatch®, the leading provider of technology for early childhood classrooms, received a national award for its newest software for kids. TeachSmart 3.0 by Hatch school readiness software for in...

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Southpark Meadows Campus Update

We're making great progress on our next premier early care and education campus, being built in Southpark Meadows. The school will have a nature/conservation theme and will meet the nurturing and educational needs of infant, preschool and school-age children. The campus, designed by Stepping Stone School's own business development and architectural staff, continues the legacy of our outstanding schools. Each Stepping Stone School campus is a unique learning environment for children and features elements that naturally encourage curiosity and opportunities for teachable moments. ...

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Annual Fall Teachers' Conference

Stepping Stone School teachers, principals, staff and administrators gathered Saturday, Sept. 6, for our annual educational conference. Each year, Stepping Stone School sponsors this event to provide our teachers with deeper understanding of age-specific needs, instruction techniques and variations, S.T.E.A.M. integration ideas and more. Our teachers look forward to the fall conference each year, not only for the invaluable learning benefit, but because the event is fun and has a real feeling of fellowship! This year's workshop highlights included: Math is Everywhere! Help...

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Acing the Transition to Kindergarten

At Stepping Stone School, we’ve designed our kindergarten-readiness programs to give your child the skills and confidence to make the transition to elementary school an exciting but comfortable one. But as your child’s first teacher, you are your child’s most powerful influence. Parents contribute enormously to school and life success. Young children are learning all the time, but the lessons they need most are not learned through workbooks or flashcards. With this transition approaching quickly for some, below are some things you can do to help your child feel prepared for kinder...

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Stepping Stone Wins Best in Childcare for 16th Year!

We are excited to announce that we've been selected “Best in Childcare” by Austin Family magazine's readers! Stepping Stone School would not be the best without the support of our wonderful teachers and amazing families! We'd like to say a HUGE thank you to all our families and friends who voted for us. We're honored to have won this prestigious title for 16 years!...

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Stepping Stone School Awards CDA Scholarships to Teachers

Twenty educators throughout our campuses are on their way to expanding their knowledge and skill in early childhood education, thanks to CDA scholarships from Stepping Stone School! The group of 20 Stepping Stone School teachers will begin their paid classes this month to earn their Child Development Associate credentials. The CDA program will reinforce the teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the intellectual, social, emotional and biological development of children and the planning and design of related curricula. “We’re pleased to contribute to the advanced education of ...

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Encouraging Healthy Eating on a Working Parent's Schedule

Healthy eating for children sometimes seems to be a bumpy road pitted with obstacles and hurdles. As parents, we want to give our children the foundations for achieving all their current and future goals. And of course, we know that achieving goals requires a healthy body, which in turn, requires healthy food. With many children, this can be a challenge, especially for working parents with busy schedules. So how can you serve healthful meals … and how can you get your child to eat them? Planning A little planning can go a long way toward preparing nutritious (and stress-fre...

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Visit Saturday to Learn More about our Future Southpark Meadows Campus

Join us this Saturday, June 7, from 10:00 a.m. to noon to learn more about our Southpark Meadows campus. Stop by our Kyle campus to get an idea of what your family can expect when our latest state-of-the-art campus opens in January 2015 in Southpark Meadows. We'll be conducting tours of our most current Austin-area Stepping Stone School campus, which has many similarities to those planned for our next South Austin school. The address for the open house is 4624 Ratcliffe, Kyle, TX 78640. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!...

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Preparing for Beginning Early Care & Education

So you’ve made the decision to go back to work or begin your child’s early education. Placing your child in preschool or childcare requires some preparation that will set your child up for success and his or her optimal well-being. We understand that changing routines, new encounters and separation can be stressful for both child and parent, and we want to make your experience as comfortable as possible. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of items and suggestions to help you and your family feel prepared and confident for this important and exciting transition. What can I do to...

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Stepping Stone School’s Marilee Blackwelder Receives Education Award

The AAEYC honors Stepping Stone School educator Stepping Stone School, the largest privately owned childcare provider in Central Texas and a pioneer in early childhood education, has announced that its director of training, Marilee Blackwelder, has received the prestigious Austin Association Education of Young Children (AAEYC) Administrator of the Year Award. Each year, the AAEYC recognizes early education professionals in the areas of teaching, leadership, advocacy and training, those who have “honorably enriched the lives of children through their service to children and families....

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Stepping Stone School Debuts Groundbreaking New Summer Camp Concept

Stepping Stone School, the largest privately owned childcare provider in Central Texas and a pioneer in early childhood education standards, has recently unveiled its newest program – a comprehensive school-age camp that includes an innovative core curriculum, along with upgraded environments and equipment to support the experience. This newest program, The Brainery™ at Stepping Stone School, is the latest enhancement of the Future Leaders and Innovators summer program for school-age children. It features all new lesson plans, activities, field journeys and educational themes – all...

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The Importance of Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary development begins in infancy and is the foundation on which children’s language and literacy skills are built. Research shows that the size of a child’s vocabulary is a strong indicator of future school success. At Stepping Stone School, your children develop vocabulary through developmentally appropriate planning, interactions and instruction from their teachers. Infants & Young Toddlers:  The very youngest are spoken to in soft, high tones that draw attention. Their teachers ensure that the children see their mouths while talking and that their actions correspon...

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Raising a Resourceful Child

“Resourcefulness, the ability to meet challenges in a variety of ways, is a by-product of creative intelligence. “As children develop resourcefulness, they learn to trust their instincts and unique abilities. They acquire a positive attitude toward problem-solving. Resourceful children mature into confident and industrious people. Just as important, they tap into the multitude of joys life has to offer.” This was the beginning of Karen Stephen’s article, “20 Ways to Encourage Children’s Resourcefulness and Creativity.” Following are her helpful suggestions for increas...

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The Benefits of Signing with Young Children

Our curriculum incorporates American Sign Language into all of our classrooms. We know that children build confidence as they increase their ability to communicate in signs. This leads to a greater confidence in oral communication as well. And, as in learning any language, it fosters a greater understanding and appreciation for the culture of that language. Signing is a kinetic act that stimulates activity in both the right brain, which is responsible for visual-spatial reasoning and long-term memory, and the left brain, which is responsible for processing language. When we sign wi...

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Raising a Reader: Tips for Parents

How can you help your child be ready to read and ready to learn? Talk to your infant and toddler to help him learn to speak and understand the meaning of words.  Point to objects that are near and describe them as you play and do daily activities together. Having a large vocabulary gives a child a great start when entering school. Read to your baby every day starting at 6 months or earlier. Reading and playing with books is a wonderful way to spend special time with her. Hearing words over and over helps her become familiar with them. Reading to your baby is one of the best ways to...

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Smooth Sailing to Kindergarten

Ensuring your children acquire the knowledge and skills to be ready for kindergarten is the highest priority in our advanced pre-K classrooms. Our Early Achievers Program blends into our Kindergarten Readiness Academy not only the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines criteria, but kindergarten-level activities as described in the Kindergarten Standards of the Texas Education Code. We have purposefully designed our curriculum to target the skills your children will need to succeed as they move into elementary school. For example, the kindergarten standards for language arts and reading req...

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Discoveries in Nature

Children’s discoveries in nature can be made wherever there are trees, grass, dirt, leaves, twigs, sunlight or rain. We facilitate the discoveries by pointing out leaf shapes, insect life under a rock, ladybugs on a plant, worms in the soil and thorns on a rose bush. Of course, children really don’t need our assistance to make their own discoveries! They love the open-ended play of digging a hole in soft garden soil and adding a bit of water. They may make mud pies for a picnic or their own garden by “planting” twigs and leaves. Nature supplies the materials for play. Natur...

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Sign up for Onsite Swimming Lessons

Eleven of our Austin-area schools will offer water safety and swim instruction to children this summer. Swimming lessons are a great way to beat the heat and learn how to swim or sharpen swimming techniques. Our swim instructors are certified lifeguards and have been through our extensive training program here at Stepping Stone School. Our instructors will teach the children basic swimming skills and other lessons to keep them safe around water. Lessons are available for a fee to children ages 3 and over and will be offered at: Crestview Northcross McNeil Anderson Mill Lakeline C...

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Using Work Strategies at Home

We may joke that working with our coworkers is like working with children. But did you know that you can apply some of the same strategies to get things done at work and at home? Foster teamwork – Let your children contribute ideas just as you encourage input at work meetings. Children tend to try harder to reach goals they’ve helped establish. Communicate to be heard and understood – Keep requests and instructions short and specific. Talking slowly, calmly and softly means others must listen closely to hear. And of course, what would communication be if we forgot to listen? B...

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Raising an Empathetic Child

When we empathize with children, they learn from us the following: Their feelings are valid Recognition and acceptance of emotions Ability to label feelings with appropriate words Knowledge that emotions can be expressed to others Self-awareness Self-control Understanding that feelings influence behavior Realization that relationships are based on mutual esteem and communication Dr. Becky Bailey writes in Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, “I cannot stress enough the importance of empathy.  Empathy is not weak-kneed permissiveness, nor is it passive acceptance of misb...

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Five Tips for Healthier Eating

Stepping Stone School is your partner in raising healthy, happy and confident children. To that end, we serve balanced and nutritional meals and snacks and offer the following suggestions for encouraging healthy eating in children. 1. Keep healthy food on hand. Keep snacks like fruits, veggies and low-fat cheese in a special place that children can access easily. It's OK to have an occasional treat, but if you buy smaller packages of "junk food," it's easier to keep these snacks to a minimum. 2. Acknowledge healthy choices. When your children choose healthy foods, praise them. You...

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Developing Healthy Habits for Terrific Teeth

Even if your child is only an infant or toddler, you can start now to help your child develop strong, healthy teeth and build habits that last a lifetime. Put your baby to bed without a bottle. Liquid pools in the front of the mouth and bacteria changes the liquid sugars into acid, which then eats away at teeth. Begin cleaning your infant’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Use a damp cloth to swab clean. When more teeth emerge, use a small, soft-bristled brush and water only. Around age 2 or 3 add a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush. As your child gains hand a...

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Easing Separation Anxiety

At Stepping Stone School, our expert team of professionals recognize and are sensitive to the anxieties parents and children often feel when separating from one another. While separation anxiety is a natural experience for both children and parents, our expert teachers hold in high regard the critical role they play in guiding families through this difficult experience and providing peace of mind for both parent and child. Stepping Stone School’s Executive Director, Rhonda Paver, M.A., has devoted much of her career and graduate studies on this topic. As a mother of five, it was the s...

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Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Spring Break Camp

We're excited to announce Stepping Stone School’s “Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead” 2014 Spring Break Camp! Over the course of the spring and summer breaks, we will be investigating the S.T.E.A.M. domains of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. We are kicking off this study during spring break with the subject of “Chemistry.” During this unit we will examine the building blocks of life and witness what happens when we mix certain chemicals together! Stepping Stone School offers a safe, fun place for children to learn and explore during their break from school. Each of ou...

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Math for All Ages

Concrete experiences with math concepts and interactions with teachers have a direct impact on your children’s acquisition of mathematical skills.  When children manipulate materials in their classrooms and learning centers, they practice math skills. For example, in block centers, children explore the differences in sizes and shapes of blocks, count the blocks in a tower and experience cause and effect when the tower tumbles down. In the library center they find books that promote shape recognition and sequencing knowledge, and teachers may read stories that focus on problem solving...

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Encouraging Self-Regulation in Young Children

Children’s self-regulation is closely tied to school readiness and success. As children develop and practice self-regulation skills, they are less frustrated and more successful, not only in school, but in social interactions and personal pursuits. Stepping Stone School teachers develop programming and environments that foster self-regulation skills for infants through school age. Each classroom offers opportunities for children to explore and take healthy risks while learning to respect the autonomy and interests of others.  Teachers listen thoughtfully to children, encouraging lang...

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Building Developmental Skills at Home

Children are constantly noticing and experimenting with the information that comes their way. No matter what they do, they are learning! The examples below include developmental skills fostered by the activities: Give simple, appropriate tasks – putting crayons back in the box; folding washcloths. (Self-regulation, fine motor) Practice self-help skills such as zipping, buttoning, keeping up with personal items, opening packages of food. (Self-confidence, hand-eye coordination) Establish routines with your child and help him follow them – putting his backpack in a certain spot; ...

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Electronic Reporting Coming to All Campuses

We are pleased to announce that Tadpoles, our electronic communications system for photos, daily reports, other notifications, will be in all of our schools in the next couple of months. Tadpoles makes it easy for you to follow your child's day, giving you: Photos, videos and notes by email Details about your child's learning, eating, sleeping, exercise and toileting activities (as appropriate) Your children’s history via the mobile Tadpoles application The ability to mark your child out sick or on vacation using the mobile application Emergency alerts by text message See a list o...

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STEAM Curriculum Coming Soon!

This January, we are launching an exciting curriculum emphasis that incorporates the principles of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education! "This is the culmination of months of research," said Rhonda Paver, MA, Stepping Stone School founder and executive director. "As always, we are keeping pace with the most updated curriculum and thinking in the nation." The addition of STEAM into our lesson plans will give our students an advantage in school readiness as more schools are adopting this modern learning. Children’s earliest developments and experiences, coupl...

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Students Kick off 2013 Turkey Trot

The students of Stepping Stone School at Shoal Creek competed in yesterday's cool morning to determine which of them was the Turkey Calling Champion. The Turkey Call is a contest among some of our 4- and 5-year-old children to see who can elicit a response from a turkey. The students each have their own unique turkey impressions, making this a highly entertaining event. This year's contest featured a new jake turkey who seemed to enjoy the children's attention, rewarding their efforts with some gobbles of his own! The children of Stepping Stone School made festive turkey hats and sang...

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Stepping Stone School Sponsoring Kids' K Race

Join us at the Stepping Stone School Kids’ K at the 23rd Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning at The Long Center. The Kids' K starts at 8:45am (before the 5-Mile Run). We group the children according to age and send them off in waves so that the smaller children won't get run over by the older ones. Every Kids' K participant receives a finisher's bracelet! Stop by our Activity Center for projects and games before or after the run. All proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin, a non-profit organization committed to assisting low-income families. We hope to see yo...

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Join Us for Our 2013 Winter Break

December 23, 2013-January 3, 2014 We are looking forward to our 2013 Winter Break Camp, “European Adventure!” Plan to have your school-age children join this fun & educational school break camp. European Adventure Our Winter Break camp activities and discussions will revolve around exploring the facets of Europe. We will investigating the culture and cuisine of different European countries and regions. Each day, the children will be cooking a dish from each country/region. Queen Elizabeth II is the Person of Interest the children will study. Field Journeys We will be going on sever...

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Tadpoles Instant Reports Are Here!

We're excited to add Tadpoles electronic daily reports to our offerings. These private and secure communications give our parents greater insight into their children's school day. Parents can: Receive photos, videos, notes and daily charts by email Receive emergency alerts by text message View their children's history using the mobile Tadpoles application Mark their child out sick or on vacation using the mobile application Our parents now can read about their child's activities, meals and daily highlights, making the car-ride conversation much more meaningful! Tadpoles is currentl...

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Stepping Stone School to Open New South Austin Campus

Newest School Expected to Provide Early Care, Education by January 2015 Stepping Stone School today announced its plans to bring a new state-of-the-art early care and education campus to Austin’s Southpark Meadows. This will be the privately owned Austin preschool’s nineteenth location in Central Texas. “We have proudly served the Austin and College Station areas for 34 years,” said Rhonda Paver, Stepping Stone School founder and executive director. “We are thrilled to have this new opportunity to further serve the families of south Austin.” The child development center will b...

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CDA Scholarship Winners Announced

Stepping Stone School has once again awarded CDA scholarships to many of its employees. The group of 20 Stepping Stone School teachers will begin classes next week to earn their Child Development Associate credentials. The CDA program will reinforce the teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the intellectual, social, emotional and biological development of children and the planning and design of related curricula. "We're pleased to contribute the education of these bright and talented teachers," said Rhonda Paver, founder and executive director. "Congratulations to these smart (and lu...

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Fall Enrollment Specials Extended

Specials Extended! Stepping Stone School already is the best early care and education value. But now we're giving you even more reason to see for yourself all we have to offer your family. Free Enrollment! Enroll by October 31, 2013, and we'll credit your enrollment fee toward your first month's tuition. This is a $100 value! Sibling Discount Enroll two or more children before October 31, 2013, and receive 10% off your monthly tuition! Our sibling discount is regularly 5%, but enroll now, and we'll double it for as long as you have two or more siblings attending any Stepping Stone School w...

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School Age Children Raise $3,000 for Charity

We're so proud of our Austin Young Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists! These school-age children, who attended our summer camp program, raised $3,032 planning and running mini businesses, such as a lemonade stand. The children are always so excited to know that the money they raise will go to families in need. The Austin school-age children recently presented their check to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin....

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Stepping Stone School Adds Gymnastics Enrichment Classes

Beginning next week, Stepping Stone School will offer a gymnastics class for 2-6 year old girls and boys. Flippers, taught by Gym Station instructors, will be a weekly onsite extracurricular activity available to our students. This pre-school gymnastics program uses a variety of equipment such as bars, beams and vaults. Each week brings a new and exciting curriculum to encourage your child's physical ability. This non-competitive program will challenge, excite and reward your child. We are pleased to add this healthy program to our lineup of enrichments that promote healthy living and exe...

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Elementary School Pickups and Dropoffs

It’s hard to believe that the summer is winding down and school will be starting in a few weeks!  We’ve had a great time with our Future Leaders & Innovators during Summer Camp and are looking forward to a busy and productive school year! Austin area First day of classes: Austin ISD: August 26 Hays Consolidated ISD: August 26 Hutto ISD: August 26 Leander ISD: August 26 Pflugerville ISD: August 27 Round Rock ISD: August 26 Elementary School Transportation (subject to change): Morning drop-off is offered for Anderson Mill, Blockhouse, Boone, Brushy Creek, ...

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Stepping Stone School Founder Featured in Local Magazine

We are pleased and honored to be featured in Austin Family magazine's August issue. This Q&A interview with Austin Family's Melanie Dunham covers topics ranging from the history of our 34-year-old company and its curriculum to our care for families and community to our plans for the future. Click here to read about Rhonda Paver, Stepping Stone School founder and executive director, and her words on our history, philosophy and future....

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KEYE Meteorologist Visits Stepping Stone School

KEYE meteorologist Allison Miller visited with our school-aged children this week to talk about meteorology and careers in broadcasting. These visits are a part of our Children's Conference Center series, during which community members visit to discuss a topic related to the educational unit our children are studying. Click the links below to watch! July 9 at our Brodie campus July 8 at our Teravista campus ...

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Stepping Stone School Wins 'Best in Childcare' Honors for 15th Year!

Our amazing families have once again chosen us as Austin’s Best Childcare in Austin Family magazine’s annual Readers’ Poll. Our sincerest thanks go out to everyone who voted for us. We are so honored!...

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Limited Time Enrollment Specials

These specials have been extended until August 31, 2013!! Stepping Stone School already is the best early care and education value. But now we’re giving you even more reason to see for yourself all we have to offer your family. Free Enrollment! Enroll by August 31, 2013, and we’ll credit your enrollment fee toward your first month’s tuition. This is a $100 value! Sibling Discount Enroll two or more children before August 1, 2013, and receive 10% off your monthly tuition! Our sibling discount is regularly 5%, but enroll now, and we’ll double it for as long as you have two or more...

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Openings Still Available for Summer Camp

It's not too late to give your child the gift of “Summer’s Smartest Destination,” a whole-child adventure that will nourish his or her mind, body and spirit! CURRICULUM (Mind) – Our educational themes are the basis for fun, interesting activities and field journeys. Your children will also take part in an organized math and literacy time each day to help them focus and hone the skills they learned during the school year.  We are dedicated to preventing summer “brain drain.” Check out the smart and engaging subjects we'll be studying this summer: June 3-14: Growing Up Gre...

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Stepping Stone School at Lakeline Receives NAC Accreditation Notice

Stepping Stone School at Lakeline today received a letter notifying the school of its renewal of accreditation from the Association for Early Learning Leaders (formerly known as the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs, or NAC). NAC accreditation documents Stepping Stone School’s quality performance using research-based criteria. “All of our schools follow our strict quality guidelines and curriculum, but it is always nice to be recognized for our excellence,” said Rhonda Paver, Stepping Stone founder and CEO. "We're proud of the staff and acknowle...

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Help Stepping Stone School Win 15th Best in Childcare Title

We're proud to be Austin's favorite early care and education provider. For 14 years now, Austin families have voted us “BEST in CHILD CARE” on Austin Family magazine's Readers' Poll. The polls are now open in this annual poll! You can vote at www.austinfamily.com. Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to vote, too! Thank you for your support and votes as we continue to provide the BEST care and education possible...

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Positive Parenting Meetings: Kindergarten Readiness Academy

We invite families to attend one of our Positive Parenting Meetings during the months of March and April.  Learn how our Kindergarten Readiness Academy provides the ideal components to ensure your child’s successful transition to elementary school! Meeting schedule: March 5, Crestview March 6, Northcross March 7, Round Rock March 19, Leander March 20, Teravista March 27, Shoal Creek April 2, McNeil April 3, Pflugerville April 5, Hyde Park April 9, Brodie April 10, O’Connor April 16, Anderson Mill April 17, Parmer April 18, Capitol April 23, Kyle April 25, University a...

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Advanced Pre-Kindergarten Week, March 4-8

We invite you to learn more about our Kindergarten Readiness Academy during our ADVANCED PRE-KINDERGARTEN WEEK March 4-8! Stop by and view the impressive Advanced Pre-K displays presented this week! Each day, different kindergarten-readiness skills are identified and illustrated with photos and work samples. See learning and mastery in action. Know that Stepping Stone School children enter Kindergarten confident, prepared and eager to continue learning! Our research-based curriculum has focused programming criteria for all children we serve. Stepping Stone School’s skilled teachers ...

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We're Celebrating Dr. Seuss's Birthday

We will be celebrating this much-loved children’s author with daily events throughout the week of March 4-8! Stop by to see all the festivities as the children learn about this writer, poet and illustrator known formally as Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991). On the schedule are: Monday, March 4 Hat Day  Create hats to wear just like the cat in the hat Tuesday, March 5 Silly Socks & Rhymes  Children can wear silly socks to school and create their own classroom rhyme Wednesday, March 6 One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish  Children can wear red and b...

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Stepping Stone School is 'Summer's Smartest Destination!'

Start planning now for summer! “Summer’s Smartest Destination” is a whole-child approach that will nourish your child’s mind, body and spirit! CURRICULUM (Mind) – Our educational themes are the basis for fun, interesting activities and field journeys. Your child will also take part in an organized math and literacy time each day to help them focus and hone the skills they learned during the school year.  We are dedicated to preventing summer “brain drain.” FIT FOR LIFE (Body) – We are pleased to offer our innovative “Fit For Life” program — health and physical act...

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Ornithological Observation Subject of Smart Spring Break Program

This year's spring break theme, Ornithological Observation, and activities will keep your child learning while having fun. Reading, reflective thinking, writing and fine arts provide educational opportunities to build skills in leadership, cooperation, communication, self-discipline and compassion. Chess Club, science experiments, math puzzles and our unique “Fit for Life” health and fitness enhancement are just some of the activities that will fill your child’s day. Come explore the world of our fine feathered friends by: building original bird houses discovering owls as you dis...

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Exciting Winter Break Camp Planned

We are looking forward to our 2012 Winter Break Camp, “A Day at the Museum!” Plan to have your school-age children join our fun & educational school break camp. A Day at the Museum Our Winter Break camp activities and discussions will revolve around exciting museum experiences. We will explore the different types of museums: history, art, natural history, cultural, etc. The children will create a variety of museum exhibits through art, science, math and literacy and critical thinking activities then display them in their own classroom galleries. Come see exhibits including apple mu...

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Beloved Pre-K Teacher Nominated for Mother Ginger Honor

We have the best families! Maryam Gharbi, one of our parents, has nominated our very own Colleen Paulk for the honor of performing in Ballet Austin's The Nutcracker production on Dec. 23. Please help us and her families by voting for her on the Ballet Austin website. You can vote once every 24 hours between now and Dec. 7. We have long treasured Colleen. Her students LOVE her and graduate from her advanced kindergarten-readiness class more than prepared for school. But don't take our word for it. This is what Maryam had to say: Vote for Ms. Colleen Paulk! In appreciation of our wonderfu...

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Stepping Stone School Turkey Callers Featured on TV

Stepping Stone School was the site of the annual Turkey Call, promoting the 22nd annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot and Stepping Stone School Kids' K race. The sounds of “Gobble! Gobble!” filled the autumn air Tuesday when the students of Stepping Stone School Shoal Creek competed to determine which of them was the Turkey Calling Champion. Stepping Stone School and ThunderCloud Subs kicked off the 22st annual Turkey Trot and Kids’ K with a live Turkey Call. The contestant who elicited the best response from the turkey was to be declared this year’s champion with full rights to ...

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Stepping Stone School Adds New Layer of Quality Assurance

Several times a year, our Quality Assurance specialists assess every classroom, nutrition center and administrator in every school to ensure the highest standards of safety, nurturance, environment and curriculum for each child in our care. Our new QA coordinators are teachers and administrators at each school who consistently excel in their classrooms' quality assurance assessments and who have an exceptional understanding of how to maximize safety, nurturance, and learning environments of young children. "Providing the best implementation of our award-winning accelerated curriculum in t...

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Stepping Stone School-Age Children Earn, Donate Money to Charity

We're so proud to say that our Austin Future Leaders & Inventors school age children raised $2,134 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas! Additionally, our newest Stepping Stone School in College Station earned $415 that they donated to Scotty's House, a College Station charity that provides services to families in crisis. These philanthropic entrepreneurs spent part of their summer creating and executing business plans that taught them myriad lessons about teamwork, planning, managing, money and more. One of our students' favorite aspects of this annual...

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Stepping Stone School Families Donate to Vets' Pantry

Again this year, Stepping Stone School delivered hundreds of pounds of food donated by its families and employees to the Killeen-Heights Veterans Center food pantry in Harker Heights near Fort Hood. In early June, the children at Stepping Stone School learned that returning disabled veterans often have to wait more than a year to get their first disability payments. Finding that many of the veterans and their families have a hard time making ends meet or even go hungry while waiting for assistance, the children of Stepping Stone School and their families wanted to help and organized the foo...

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CPR Positive Parenting Meeting July 21

Stepping Stone School is offering an infant/child/adult CPR/first aid training class for the convenience of our families. Call today and make reservations for yourself, a friend or teen babysitter to attend. WHO: Anyone who wants to learn CPR. WHEN: Saturday, July 21, 9:00-11:30 a.m. WHERE: Stepping Stone School III, 6616 McNeil Road. TRAINERS: CPR Resources (off duty firefighters and EMTs). COST: $25 per person at the door. RESERVATIONS: Please call 512-459-0258 to reserve your place so we can be sure to have enough trainers available. Reservations may also be made through your cen...

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Stepping Stone School Summer Reading Challenge Begins

Stepping Stone School school-age students have taken on a 13-week summer reading challenge. This contest encourages our young readers to spend more time reading and helping others with their reading skills, and is just one of many ways Stepping Stone School helps prevent "summer brain drain." The three classrooms that log the most reading minutes will receive a pizza party and be featured in the Stepping Stone School Book of World Records. The Stepping Stone School Book of World Records also will highlight: The child that logs the most individual reading minutes; The child that logs t...

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Stepping Stone School Observing Sun Safety Week

This week, the children at Stepping Stone School are learning about UV rays, SPF, heat and other things related to summer sun! Here are some of the tips they will be studying to help keep them and their families safe during our Texas summers. Block the Sun, Not the Fun! Monday: Insect repellants reduce sunscreen’s SPF by up to 1/3. When using a combination, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF! Tuesday: Overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays can result in sunburns which increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Therefore, check your local UV index which gives important information ...

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Stepping Stone School 20 Now Open!

Stepping Stone School is pleased and excited to announce the opening today of its newest early care and education facility in College Station, Texas! The school, located at 205 Rock Prairie Rd., serves children ages 6 weeks through 11 years old and opened at near full capacity. Like all Stepping Stone Schools, the Rock Prairie school was designed to provide children with a multi-sensory experience that inspires their intellectual, physical and social/emotional development. See more about our innovative campuses here. Please join us in welcoming this new school, its amazing families and c...

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Learning Happens All Year Long at Stepping Stone!

The beginning of summer may mark the end of the official “school year,” but at Stepping Stone School, the learning never ends! Our year-round developmental learning curriculum continues to provide your children with intellect-stimulating activities incorporated into seasonal themes. Whether working with infants or school-agers, teachers help children build their academic skills while providing joyful summer learning opportunities.   Our summer curriculum is now the focus in our ongoing professional development program. With thoughtful planning and intentional teaching, our educato...

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Enrolling Now for Our Premier Summer Program

We are now enrolling for our School Age Summer Adventure Camp! Highlights include: Exciting Field Journeys like bowling, rock climbing, ceramics, Inner Space Caverns, Lego Robotics and Stepping Stone School’s Private Movie Theater! Weekly themes with topics like airplanes, endangered animals, oceanography, anatomy/physiology and foreign cultures promote learning, character and values. MENSA-inspired activities, brain teasers, and math, literacy and science enhancements. Chess Club & Dual Language Immersion Labs – child and parent favorites! Sports & Fitness Camp...

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Stepping Stone School Donates Cribs to Charitable Organization

Cribs to benefit vulnerable families, survivors of domestic violence Stepping Stone School has donated approximately 230 gently used infant cribs and mattresses valued at about $50,000 to a family shelter in Monterrey, Mexico. Continuing Stepping Stone School’s dedication to the environment and to repurpose items it no longer uses, the cribs will be contributed to DIF Nuevo Leon. The organization assists homeless families and those who have escaped domestic violence in Mexico get back on their feet. Six months ago, Stepping Stone School began its search for an organization in Mexic...

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Leveled Readers Coming to Stepping Stone School Pre-K Classrooms

We are introducing Beginning Level Early Readers into our Advanced Prekindergarten class libraries this spring! Children in these classrooms will use these graduated readers to fine tune the literacy skills that enable them to decipher words and meaning. As your children become ready and interested, they each discover the excitement of reading. These skills come together at a unique time for every child. Our experienced teachers respectfully encourage each child to be a confident, exploring reader and learner!...

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Premier Private Kindergarten Now Enrolling for Fall!

Stepping Stone School is now enrolling for its Premier Private Kindergarten! Your child's kindergarten year is a very important foundational experience. We invite you to stop by and see how our curriculum and programs can best prepare your child for "big school" success. You want this important year to be the very best for your child, and you will find that at Stepping Stone School. Our kindergartners discover their potential, eagerly explore new concepts and are inspired to be adventurous learners. Advantages of Stepping Stone School’s private kindergarten: Stepping Stone School’...

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Stepping Stone School Offers Organic Gardening Spring Break Camp

Stepping Stone School is excited to announce its “Start Smart” 2012 Spring Break Camp, “Organic Gardening & Healthy Living.” Some of the highlights include field trips to such places as: Austin Nature & Science Center; Zilker Botanical Garden; or Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center The children will learn about growing and nurturing living things. Your child will explore the world of plants and botany by: Planting and growing real tomato plants; Creating original vases and flower pots; Charting and discovering the growth rates of various plants; I...

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Stepping Stone School Now Provides Hot Lunch to School-Age Children

NEW! Stepping Stone School is now serving nutritious and healthy hot lunches to our school-age children during school holidays and breaks. This service is always provided to our younger children at no additional cost, but has now been expanded to include our older children when they attend full days. We are pleased to provide this convenience for our families!...

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Stepping Stone School Named 21st Largest Preschool

In its January/February 2012 issue, Exchange magazine has listed Stepping Stone School as the 21st largest for-profit child care organization in North America. The list, which is based on the licensed capacities of all centers, included many publicly traded companies and large chains. Stepping Stone School was among the highest placed privately owned organizations. "We are very pleased to be part of this list," said founder and executive director Rhonda Paver. "Stepping Stone School remains a tight-knit, family-owned organization where we are small enough to be vigilant and responsive to ...

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Students Kick Off Turkey Trot with Turkey Call

Echoes of “Gobble! Gobble!” filled the autumn air Tuesday when the students of Stepping Stone School IX competed to determine which of them was the Turkey Calling Champion. Stepping Stone School and ThunderCloud Subs kicked off the 21st annual Turkey Trot and Kids’ K with a live Turkey Call at Stepping Stone School, 8121 Shoal Creek, on Nov. 15. The contestant who elicited the best response from the turkey was to be declared this year's champion with full rights to “crow” about it, however, because Tom Turkey was silent, all earned honors for their enthusiastic attempts! The...

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Dual Language Immersion Lab Newest Enrichment at Stepping Stone School

Stepping Stone School is pleased to announce the addition of its new foreign language enhancement! The Dual Language Immersion Labs will give students at each school a jump start at learning a second language. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, learning a second language at an early age... Has a positive effect on intellectual growth; Enriches and enhances a child's mental development; Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening; Improves a child's understanding of his/her nativ...

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Chess More Than a Game at Stepping Stone School

"That's what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one."  -  Bobby Fischer, American chess grandmaster Stepping Stone School is proud to introduce the traditional, yet revolutionary game of chess to its advanced pre-k and school-age masterminds! These students are learning about the history of the game as well as how the pieces move and strategies for winning. The classes will also include tournaments to allow the students to practice their new skills. Children who play chess have been shown to improve their math and reading skills, but t...

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Stepping Stone School Leaders Expand Knowledge at NAEYC Conference

Stepping Stone School campus principals and curriculum leaders recently returned from the NAEYC 2011 Annual Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, where they attended workshops and sessions by other experts in child development. "These workshops covered all the latest research about how children learn," said Marilee Blackwelder, Stepping Stone School director of training. "There were workshops that explored developmentally appropriate and effective teaching practices, the importance of relationships and attachments, and the different ways in which children learn to read, for example." Step...

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Stepping Stone School 17 Relocates to Beautiful, New Campus

Stepping Stone School opened the doors to its newest campus on Monday, Oct. 3, to the delight of its students and parents alike. Children were seen at Thursday's open house event excitedly exploring their new school, its play areas and classrooms. Many, even, were reluctant to leave. That excitement carried over to opening day. One parent, Karen Barry, said of her son, "It usually takes a while for him to get going in the morning, but not today. He popped right up and said, 'I'm going to my new school today!'" The school, previously located at Dell Children's Medical Center, is the new p...

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Stepping Stone School Families Donate Busload of Food to Disabled Veterans

Stepping Stone School delivered hundreds of pounds of food donated by its families and employees to the veterans' counseling center in Harker Heights near Fort Hood. In early June, the children at Stepping Stone School learned that returning disabled veterans often have to wait more than a year to get their first disability payments. Finding that many of the veterans and their families have a hard time making ends meet or even go hungry while waiting for assistance, the children of Stepping Stone School and their families wanted to help and organized the food drive. "We are so proud of all...

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Stepping Stone School Voted 'Best in Childcare' for the 13th Year!

Our amazing families have once again chosen us as Austin's Best Childcare in Austin Family magazine's annual Readers' Poll. Our sincerest thanks go out to everyone who voted for us. We are so honored!...

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Stepping Stone School Awards CDA Scholarships to Its Teachers

A group of 22 Stepping Stone School scholarship-winning teachers have just begun classes to earn their Child Development Associate degree.The CDA program will reinforce our teachers' knowledge and understanding of the intellectual, social, emotional and biological development of children and the planning and design of related curricula. Congratulations to these smart (and lucky) educators!...

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Rhonda Paver Appointed to Governor's Council

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Stepping Stone School Founder Rhonda Paver to the Texas Early Learning Council. This council assesses early childhood education and care programs across the state and develops opportunities for collaboration among entities carrying out federally and state funded child development, child care and early education programs. Read the press release on the governor's website....

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Six Schools Awarded Texas School Ready! Certification

Six Stepping Stone School locations recently earned the Texas School Ready! certification for 2010. Among private preschools in Austin, Stepping Stone School now has the largest number of Texas School Ready! certified schools. The TSR! Certification is determined by the combined results of a 2 year process that includes assessment of the Pre-K classroom program followed by tracking of the same children through their kindergarten classrooms. This certification means that children who attend Stepping Stone School’s pre-k program are equipped with the foundation skills they need to b...

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Stepping Stone Childrens' Gobbles Kick Off 2010 Turkey Trot

Stepping Stone School kicked off the holiday season and this year’s Turkey Trot with the annual Turkey Call yesterday. The children in the advanced pre-K classes at Stepping Stone IX dressed up, sang, and demonstrated their best turkey calls in hopes that the live turkey would answer back. The judges deemed four-year-old Wylie the contest winner, as his turkey call elicited the best response from Turkey Tom. The Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot and Stepping Stone School Kids K will be held Thursday, Nov. 25 at the Long Center in Austin, TX. All proceeds from the event benefit Carita...

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Stepping Stone Voted Best Preschool by Nickelodeon Parents!

We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Austin parents for choosing us Best Preschool! We're so pleased to be Austin's 2010 Nickelodeon's Parents' Pick. Thank you for your support ... we couldn't have done it without you!...

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Kyle Stepping Stone School Opens

Our newest location opened on Monday, Aug. 23, and we're so excited to be part of the Kyle community! We look forward to providing Hays County with the same excellent early care and education that has earned us the "Best in Austin" designation from the readers of Austin Family Magazine for 12 years! The "School of Knowledge & Innovation" is offering Stepping Stone School's nationally recognized curriculum to the children of Hays County ... the same curriculum that has prepared Central Texas children for school success for 30 years!...

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Stepping Stone School Voted Austin's Best for 12th Year!

Stepping Stone School has been named "Best Preschool 2010" in the Austin Family Magazine Readers' Poll. This is the 12th year Stepping Stone School has received this honor. Thank you to all our families for your support!...

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Watch Us Grow!

Stepping Stone School is expanding to Kyle, Texas! Our first school in Hays County is scheduled to be open and bustling with academic energy this Fall. Read more about it here....

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Advanced Pre-K Week - March 8-12

During the week of March 8-12, we celebrated the education and remarkable achievement of our children with Advanced Pre-Kindergarten week. Each day of this fun learning week, educators highlighted a different Kindergarten Readiness skill that is practiced throughout our school. Day one showcased print concepts and alphabet awareness. Day two focused on the physical development of our children, including fine and gross motor development. Day three involved math concepts, such as sequencing, matching, and shape recognition. Day four encompassed self regulation and social/emotional readiness, ...

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Stepping Stone School 6 Receives NAC Accreditation

Stepping Stone School 6 received notice of accreditation from the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC). NAC Accreditation demonstrates and documents Stepping Stone School's quality performance using research-based criteria. "We're so proud of our staff at Stepping Stone School VI," said Rhonda Paver, Stepping Stone founder and CEO. "All of our schools follow our strict quality guidelines and curriculum, but it is always nice to be recognized for our hard work."...

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Stepping Stone School Appears at Breakfast with Santa at the Capitol

The Texas Capitol building was a-buzz with the laughter of children mixed with holiday sounds Saturday, Dec. 5 when Stepping Stone School, exclusively selected to provide arts and crafts activities, helped the children make ornaments and "jingle-bell" necklaces. Stepping Stone School donated its time and supplies to help make the annual Breakfast with Santa at the Capitol a merry holiday event for children....

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Stepping Stone School Kids K Helps Caritas

The thunder of footsteps is now just a memory, but the Stepping Stone School Kids K Race was a huge success! About 900 children participated in the one-kilometer race, benefiting Caritas of Austin. Children and parents alike enjoyed the Stepping Stone School Activity Tent before and after the race. Activities included face painting, making crafts and playing in the bounce house. The Kids K is part of ThunderCloud Subs' annual Turkey Trot, which raises money for Caritas. Stepping Stone School is proud of its ten-year partnership with these organizations in the fight to stamp out poverty! C...

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Stepping Stone School Gobblers Open Season on Turkey Trot Registration

Echoes of "Gobble! Gobble!" filled the crisp autumn air Nov. 18 when the students of Stepping Stone School IX competed to determine which of them is the Turkey Calling King or Queen. This year's winner was 5-year-old Evan. Stepping Stone School families collected non-perishable items for Caritas and were pleased to present the non-profit group with an amazing 594 pounds of food! This annual event kicked off registration for the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot and Stepping Stone School Kids K, which took place Thanksgiving morning. All proceeds from the Turkey Trot benefit Caritas ...

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Stepping Stone School Summer Bash a 'Smashing Success'

Stepping Stone School topped off its Summer Adventure Camp in style with the Annual End of Summer Bash. There were clowns, slides, face-painting, food, fun and LOTS of foam! Although we're sad to see the summer end, we're thrilled that we still get to see so many of our school-agers in our After-School Care! Check out the video here. What better way to kick off the new school year? ...

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Stepping Stone School Voted Austin's Best!

Stepping Stone School has been named "Best Preschool 2009" by the Austin Family Magazine Readers' Poll. This is the 11th year Stepping Stone School has received this honor. Thank you to all our families for your support!...

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Now Enrolling for Fall

Get an early start on your fall planning! Stepping Stone School is now enrolling all ages for fall (6 weeks-11 years). Be sure to ask about our proven Kindergarten Readiness Academy and our After-School Enrichment Program! Please contact or visit a school near you for more information....

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Summer Specialty Camp!

Stepping Stone School is now enrolling for our School Age Summer Adventure Camp! Exciting weekly and monthly camps including Science Experiments, Culinary Academy, and Theater Productions and exciting activities such as Lazer Tag, Rock Climbing, Water Golf, Zoo Shows and Stepping Stone School's Private Movie Theater! FREE, summer-long Academic Super Skills Camp featuring MENSA-inspired activities, brain teasers, and math, literacy and science enhancements. Use of Nintendo Wii rewarded for Academic Achievement! State licensed, regulated environments ensure your child’s safety, securi...

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Stepping Stone School Guides Parents in Preschool Search

In a recent issue of the Austin American-Statesman, Stepping Stone School offered guidance for working parents who are searching for quality early care and education. Marilee Blackwelder, Director of Training at Stepping Stone School provided her insights, including valuable information regarding what parents should look for and specific questions to ask. Click here to read the full article, "Safety, security top list of what pre-school should offer families". ...

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Health Advisory

Stepping Stone School will continue updating you on important health-related information as it becomes available. Please click here to read our letter to parents including helpful tips on preventing the spread of illness (PDF). For tips on discussing swine flu with children, please visit the CDC's website. For a news report on local school closings, featuring an interview with Susan Watson, Director of Operations at Stepping Stone School, please visit KEYE News online. ...

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NAC Accreditation

Stepping Stone School I on Richcreek and Steppping Stone School V on Wells Branch Parkway were recently accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC), recognizing the schools for exemplifying excellence in the education and care of young children. NAC Accreditation is one of the highest recognitions awarded to Early Childhood Development programs, signifying that a program meets NAC's high quality standards and is distinguished as superior child care. More about NAC » ...

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2009 Austin Family Readers' Poll

Polls are open! Help keep Stepping Stone School "Best in Child Care". Thank you for your support and votes as we continue providing the best early care and education! [*Update 5/15/2009 - Polls are now closed. Thank you for your support!]...

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National Recognition

Stepping Stone School has been recognized as the 21st largest privately owned child care organization in North America by Exchange magazine, the official publication of Child Care Information Exchange. ...

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Car Seat Calendar

Properly installing a car seat is one of the most important aspects of ensuring a child's safety. To ensure that all parents are familiar with how to effectively, safely use car seats, the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas provides a comprehensive Calendar of Car Seat Safety Checks. Please visit their website to take advantage of this valuable resource....

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Stepping Stone School Kids' K at Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot

Join us at the Stepping Stone School Kids' K at the 18th Annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning at Waterloo Park. Children can run or walk the Kids' K and then head over to the Stepping Stone School Kids' Area featuring games, activities, snacks, and a moonwalk. All proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin, a non-profit organization committed to assisting low-income families. We hope to see you there! ...

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Stepping Stone School Turkey Call Kicks Off Thanksgiving Festivities

The children at Stepping Stone School IX on Shoal Creek participated in Stepping Stone School's annual Turkey Call to initiate the Thanksgiving festivities leading up to the Stepping Stone School Kids' K at the 18th Annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. View some of the Turkey Call excitement! Turkey Call Video ...

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Texas School Ready! Certification

Five Stepping Stone School locations—Richcreek, Woodland Village, Pflugerville, Blockhouse, and Red River—recently earned the Texas School Ready! certification for outstanding preschool education classrooms that effectively prepare students for kindergarten. More about Texas School Ready! » ...

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Texas Rising Star Four-Star Certification

Stepping Stone School II on Bowling Green has been named a 4-Star Texas Rising Star vendor, the highest award offered by the program. The Texas Rising Star program is designed to provide families with the highest quality child care available by closely observing and examining child care programs through certification visits. Four-Star certification is awarded to child care programs that exceed quality standards in all areas and enhance the intellectual, physical, and social development of children in care. Additionally, six other Stepping Stone School locations—Richcreek, Woodland Village...

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Early Childhood Education Consortium

Stepping Stone School founders Rhonda and Bill Paver have been recognized for their contributions to Early Childhood Education by an invitation to join the Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC). The Consortium represents the largest national and regional early childhood care and education companies in the United States. The ECEC members represent over 8,000 programs serving more than 800,000 children in nearly every state in the country. More about ECEC » ...

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Rhonda Paver to present at World Child Care Forum

Stepping Stone School founder Rhonda Paver has once again been asked to present at the international Working Forum for Multi-Site Early Childhood Organizations to take place in October 2008. Mrs. Paver will be presenting on the topic: How Culture is Shaped and Communicated. This event is a project of the World Forum Foundation whose mission is to promote an on-going global exchange of ideas on the delivery of quality services for young children in diverse settings. The complete agenda can be found on the Multi-Site web site. In 2006, Mrs. Paver presented on the topic: Developing Struc...

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Stepping Stone School Supports Early Literacy in Central Texas

Stepping Stone School is proud to support early literacy efforts in the community by sponsoring the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF), a public charity committed to helping improve academic outcomes in the Leander Independent School District Community. More about LEEF »...

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Stepping Stone School featured in Community Impact Newspaper

Stepping Stone School was featured in Community Impact Newspaper's June 2008 edition. Click here to view the entire article (PDF download). ...

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Stepping Stone School Voted Best Child Care - 2008 Austin Family Magazine Readers' Poll

Stepping Stone School is as the top of its class! Click here to view the full listing of poll results....

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Stepping Stone School XVIII – NOW OPEN!

The School of Life, located at Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock, TX provides on-site care for Seton Healthcare Network employees and the general public. Please call 512.341.0909 for more information or to enroll your child. Hurry... spaces are filling fast!...

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The Kids ARE Alright

Slate Magazine reviews an in-depth study on what child care really means!...

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